Translation is a serious job and requires both focus and attention. However, working alone also means that you’ll be able to do other things whilst translating — but is this a good idea? In this Hub post we’ll discuss a few things that translators do whilst working on their translations, and think about whether it could be a good thing or a bad thing.
Listening to music
We’ve all probably tried this at some point in our translation careers. If you’re working on an especially dull document (it happens!), then what better way to make things more exciting than by putting on some of your favourite tunes?
The point to consider when working on detailed translation work is whether the music adds to your concentration or distracts you from your work. Studies have been made that argue one way or the other, and some articles even suggest that certain types of music are more beneficial for different types of work. If you listen to music whilst working, which types of music do you prefer? Ultimately, it’s a good idea to experiment, and if you feel that music is distracting you from your work, then try chaining genres or working in silence
Whilst you don’t want to get crumbs in your keyboard, eating (or more specifically, chewing whilst you work can prove to be beneficial to concentration. Apparently, chewing can increase the flow of oxygen to areas of the brain used to focus attention. However, eating your lunch or dinner at your computer might not be for the best. After all, you want to enjoy your food and it’s easy to loose track of portion size if you translate whilst eating. As such, it’s probably best to stick to small snacks instead.
Having the television/YouTube in the background
Whilst some translators like to work with the TV on in the background, or a YouTube video playing on your desktop, this is pretty much universally agreed to be bad for your concentration levels. The very nature of the medium intends to grab your visual attention and keep you focused on it, which doesn’t bode well if you have to give your attention to something else, such as translation! If you watch TV or videos online whilst you work, how do you ever manage to focus your work? I’m sure there’re people who have experimented with this, so let us know in the comments what your experience of this is like!
Using social media
If you’re a social person, then talking with friends online can be a good way to combat the loneliness of translation. And if you’re engaged in online communities related to the work of translation, then you can quickly ask a question or two about a translation-related question. However, the potential for social media to distract is very high. How many times have you promised yourself you’ll only quickly scan your Facebook newsfeed, and end up lost for hours following links to different articles or watching a video that one of your friends has posted? Used with discipline, social media can be a great way to assist your translation career, but the potential for distraction is exceedingly high too. Are you able to use it without distraction?
We’ve discussed a few things that translators do whilst translating, which could have the potential to enhance their focus or take it away. Le us know what (if anything) you do whilst translating.